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the vatican today as tens of thousands crowded st. peter's square for one of pope benedict xvi final public appearances. the pope will set step down 11 days from now, setting in motion the search for a new leader and maybe a new direction for the catholic church. nbc's anne thompson is at the vatican tonight with more. anne? >> reporter: good evening, lester. tonight, the pope is on a week-long lenten retreat inside the vatican with the days of his papacy numbered. now, every public appearance of benedict's is a must-see event. for more than 50,000 people, this was the only place to be, a global villageful the faithful and curious in st. peter's square to say thank you and good-bye to pope benedict xvi. >> as soon as he resigned, i knew i definitely wanted to come and witness it. >> reporter: 20-year-old thaddius howard of georgia brought an american flag. >> i wanted to let the pope know that he is supported by all of us from america. >> reporter: in six different languages, benedict addressed the crowd. >> thank you for the prayers and support you have shown me. >> reporter:? german, he s
really surprised. >> reporter: pope benedict had been looking frail recently, using a moveable platform during services, so he wouldn't have to walk. relying on a cane. the pope wants more rest, said his 89-year-old brother in germany. he said his brother has been thinking about stepping down for months. and had been advised by his doctors not to take anymore long, international flights, such as a planned trip to brazil in july. the pope's decision is unprecedented in modern times. the last similar case was pope celestine v, who had praise for pope benedict today. >> he has given church the last great service he will give the church. he's stepping off the stage when he feels he can't exercise the office of peter. >> reporter: benedict seemed to many a reluctant pope, as cardinal ratzinger under john paul ii, he was known as a conservative guardian of church doctrine, opposing women priests, abortion and homosexuality. as pope, he inherited the church's biggest scandal in decades. revelations that priests had sexually abused children. he met with victims and apologized. >> for all, i exp
, and there is no road map for what's happening right now. pope benedict is abdicating. he said his farewell today. he flies off tomorrow, and then the gathering starts to pick his replacement. nbc's anne thompson was at the vatican for all of it today. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. you know, in his final days, pope benedict has shown the world he has the ability to surprise. first in his decision to abdicate. and then today in his last public speech, revealing the personal toll leading the catholic church has taken on him. they came to witness history. >> i think this is something we're going to be able to look back at and tell our grandkids we were there. >> reporter: to say thank you. >> for all of us, he has been a really amazing teacher. >> reporter: and applaud the first pope in 700 years to voluntarily step down. >> i'm sure that he's really a very intelligent man, that he cares more about the church than about his role in the church. >> reporter: respect and affection is benedict's trouble pontificate comes to an end. >> i continue to accompany the church with my prayer
the vatican that pope benedict xvi will re-sign at the end of the month? the pope says he no longer has the strength to carry out 0 the job. joe rosato jr. spoke to san francisco's controversial archbishop who knows the pope well. >> reporter: shortly before pope benedict was archbishop of san francisco salvator met with the pope. >> he was mentally alert and engaged in conversation, but he seemed to be fiphysically hurti. >> reporter: still, he never expected to hear the history making news pope benedict was stepping down. >> i was just as shocked as anyone else. i hadn't heard raw morse rumors speculation. >> reporter: he watched popes live longer and the stresses of the job grow harder. >> there are greater demands placed on the pope now and going forward living for a longer time. it's a different dynamic now. >> reporter: he says pope benedict's tenure was especially stressful with the church embroiled in the sex abuse crisis, and though the church's critics will likely disagree, he believes pope benedict will be remembered for his courage to address it. >> he was one of the leading
the final brief appearance there. and the final end to the benedict papacy comes four hours from now when the doors of gandolfo close and they leave. let's go down to keir simmons covering it all for us. kear, good morning to you. >> reporter: hey, savannah, good morning, the saints looking down on the square have not seen a day like this in medieval times. in the papal palace, over my shoulder here, the pope, as you say, has been meeting were his cardinals, tells them, i'll be with you in prayer. dawn across rome. this city has seen more than 260 pontiffs, only two popes passed in the last thousand years have left like this. the cardinals, princes of the church, gathered this morning for a warm farewell to pope benedict. some cardinals wants to speak to him for as long as possible. pope benedict will resign just after sunset. this home, this beautiful summer palace, quiet after a frantzic few weeks. >> at 8:00 exactly, he will stop being pope, the swiss guards who stand guard outside the palace and he'll go. >> reporter: rough seas he admitted yesterday and now the task begins of choosin
because pope benedict is german. they are moved by the news and chancellor angela merkel will react later. reaction just starting to come in as people hear this breaking news. >> we'll have more on the pope's resignation later on. parts of the gulf coast are waking up to untold damage after a wave of severe storms raked across the region sunday night. the brunt of the storms hit in and around hattiesburg, mississippi, where a long-track tornado ripped across part of the state. the twister traveled down one of the main streets, winding through the university of southern mississippi campus. the governor declared a state of emergency in seven counties reporting damage including downed trees, mangled buildings, and injuries to more than a dozen people. fortunately no deaths have been reported. >>> nbc meteorologist bill karins will have the details on the threat of more severe weather and potential flash floods coming up in a few minutes. >>> residents in southern california remain on edge this morning. day five in the manhunt for a former lapd officer suspected in three cold-blooded killings
. a shocking announcement from pope benedict xvi, he said that he no longer has the mental or physical exasperatity to go on. he will leave post at the end of the month. we have reaction from local cathol catholics. >> hi, we talked to a lot of people about the reaction and it's safe to say, there's a different reaction from older and younger catholics. regardless of whether or not they say the pope's resignation will have an impact on your faith, they are watching for a successor. at this morning's mass in san jose, the faith parade for the pope as they always had knowing that soon that means praying for someone different. >> we still have the faith and so we keep going. that's the main thing. >> i'm disappointed, because in my lifetime, every pope has followed the natural path. >> i cannot understand that the pope would retire. we never had that before. . >> it's said that he left an impression in his eight years. >> he was the teacher, as i said, about john paul, they came to see him. and benedict they came to hear him. he stepped aside when he felt he could no longer lead. >> i hav
the world are still stunned this morning by pope benedict's surprise announcement he's giving up the pa papacy. a papal abdication has not happened in six centuries. it's creating shock waves even from the sky. "the guardian" newspaper showing lightning hitting st. peter's basilica. chris jansing is in rome this morning. good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, richard. there's a lot of speculation here about what that lightning strike means. i can't give you any inside information but the other big speculation, of course, is who will succeed pope benedict. this is something we have not seen since the middle ages. how do you choose a pope when there's one still living? there's a very different church than we saw even eight years ago, and certainly three decades ago when john paul ii was elected. this is a church that is very heavily in latin america. about 42% of catholics are in latin america now. they're growing as well in africa. only 25% in europe, but more than half of the cardinals who will come here to vatican city and who will announce a new pope are from europe. so, here
catholics around the world are still adjusting to the knowledge to the announcement pope benedict will be stepping down and new leadership will follow. and today the man who says he lacks the strength to go on as leader of the church led his final public mass as pope. nbc's anne thompson with us tonight from the vatican. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. today we finally saw the man who is causing all the commotion here. in two public appearances, pope benedict looked every one of his 85 years, but his voice and his resolve are strong. ♪ pope benedict led a packed st. peter's basilica in a moving ash wednesday mass. reminding the faithful, they are made from dust and to dust they shall return. a message of humility, answered by an unusual demonstration of affection. a spontaneous, prolonged standing ovation for the retiring pontiff, at his final public mass. a sea of cell phones capturing the exit of a man praised today as a simple and humble worker. >> i have tears in my eyes. it's just so amazing to be here. >> reporter: the pope's weekly audience turned in
>>> right now at 5:00, tens of thousands have gathered at the vatican to see one of pope benedict's last public appear ens before he steps down. we'll have bay area reaction as well. >>> also san francisco police are asking for the public's help in finding this man who is suspected in a couple of mission district attacks. >>> and a historic day in racing as danica patrick breaks down a longstanding barrier. we'll show you, next. >>> nbc bay area news starts now. >>> good evening. i'm diane dwyer. >> i'm terry mcsweeney. less than two weeks before pope benedict steps down, a massive crowd gathered to hear what could be one of his last public prayers. 50,000 people came to st. peter's square, doubled last week's crowd. >> reporter: in rome where there is no shortage of must-see attractions, suddenly elderly pope benedict is number one on everyone's list. today he delivered his weekly prayer from his balcony just as he has for nearly eight years, but this crowd was worthy of a rock star. iz exit from his last public mass on ash wednesday turned churchgoers into paparazzi. the hottest ticket
, brian. >>> overseas now. six days from now pope benedict will step down. then it will be time for the cardinals to elect a new pope, and some american cardinals who will be heading to the conclave suddenly find themselves in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. nbc's anne thompson with us tonight, once again from the vatican with this story. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. as pope benedict finishes his lenten retreat, the vatican is preparing for this historic transition. with many questions, such as who will lead the church, far from answered. a week before pope benedict retires, and there is still no clear front-runner to succeed him. however, there is a long shot. new york's cardinal timothy dolan. >> i'll do anything to get you guys in church. >> reporter: praised in catholic circles for his persona. his efforts to revitalize the church and fighting the obama administration's contraception coverage mandate. but this week, dolan was deposed about how he dealt with abusive priests as archbishop of milwaukee. what impact is this going to have on card
. >>> this was a bittersweet day at the vatican as pope benedict xvi made his final sunday appearance as the church faced new allegations of wrongdoing. nbc's anne thompson is at the vatican for us again tonight. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, lester. today's events, you can see both the strengths and weaknesses of the catholic church, the exuberant energy and faith in the massive crowd gathered here, and the new charges of abuse that continue to haunt this institution. today, the world came to st. peter's square for pope benedict's final sunday blessing. part pep rally. part prayer service. just being in the crowd of 1,000 was a learning experience for these american students. >> that the faith has no national boundaries and political interests. >> reporter: the object of their affection and gratitude, the 85-year-old pontiff. he told the crowd he is not abandoning the church but answering god's call to more prayer and meditation, more appropriate for his age and strength. yet even in this joyful square, the scandals that marked his papacy were on the minds of some. >> i think he has done an
learn today that the outgoing pope benedict will be called -- what he will be called after he is pope and what life will be like for him, because afr all, remember, an abdicating pope is all new territory for the catholic church. nbc's anne thompson remains at the vatican for us tonight. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. they are already closing off the streets around st. peter's square in anticipation of the huge crowds for pope benedict's final audience tomorrow. the cardinals who will elect his successor have started to arrive, including controversial american cardinal roger mahoney, who is here despite calls for him to stay home because of his role in shielding sexually abusive priests in los angeles. these final days for benedict have been very difficult. he's seen a cardinal forced to resign, intense speculation over an internal investigation into leaked documents. but today the news was all about his new life. in retirement, he will be called pope emeritus. he will still wear white, just a simple cap and not the cape we're used to seeing. his red shoes will
more progressive than benedict. >> i think that it's good he decided to resign if he feels like hs aging enough that he can't be in control of the p church and divisions and put someone in significantly younger and have more of a heartbeat of the younger generation and what might matter to them move forward. >> among the candidates, one from the philippines recently said the church should listen more and admit its mistakes. it's unlikely the new pope will be from the united states. >>> beautiful day for a trip to the beach. it's still february. this is what it's going to look like tomorrow. it's not going to look this way in the early part of the workweek. >>> meteorologist is tracking a major change coming up in the forecast. >> i don't think it's going to include many beach days. forecast today, cooler than saturday's 70-degree high temperatures. santa cruz, a lot of sunshine. 57 in fremont. here is what lies ahead in the forecast. cold trough of low pressure dropping in on us. right around this time tomorrow night. clouds are filling in. we'll see rain and we'll see wind. that's
breaking news out of the vatican where it was announced moments ago that pope benedict xvi will resign, he will resign effective february 28 of this year. nbc's bureau chief located in rome joins us on the phone. what can you it tell us? >> reporter: good morning, matt. yes, it came as a shock, of course, for all of us and are for the billions of catholics around the world. i mean, i just got confirmation of that news from the senior adviser who said that he made that speech, the pope made the speech in latin this morning, during a relatively small event, for the cannonization in the reswrr region of the south. he said he just doesn't have the strength anymore. this came as a shock because the pope has a right to resign. nobody has before him he especiy that it comes off john paul ii a man who at 85 wasn't even able to walk and neither speak really, was mumbling towards the end of his life. and pope benedict saying i just don't have it anymore. i don't have the strength anymore to bear my mission to carry on the catholic church. >> claudio, is there concern or is there some speculation tha
pope benedict xvi. today's blessing comes as the vatican considers moving up the date to find his replacement. we're live in st. peter's square. >>> and the drama surrounding former senator chuck hagel, the president's choice for defense secretary. his nomination in limbo, were even though many suspect he will eventually be confirmed. why are they making this process so difficult? we'll talk to david gregory and get analysis 06 that. >>> plus, have you ever wondered what it's like to train as a g man? >> i have wondered 245. >> well, you're sitting next to the right guy. i was in quantico, virginia. they deal with a car stop, hand-to-hand combat. and what we learned about fighting crime and you were brushing up on your car knowledge. >> i was. i was doing a little bit of that. we hear women don't know what much about cars. we get a bad rap. one woman who knows a lot about cars wants to change that perception. i spent a day changing oil. as part of a unique class designed for women by a woman. its goal is to make both our cars and the repair shop a little less intimidating. >> i wo
. lester? >> michelle, thanks. >>> tomorrow at the vatican, pope benedict xvi will offer a final public blessing before he retires next thursday. as cardinals gather for the election of a new pope, the vatican today was sharply critical of a wave of reports in the italian media. nbc's anne thompson is at the vatican. good evening to you. >> reporter: good evening, lester. it was an unusually strong rebuke from the vatican for going after the media for running false news reports, they claim, to influence the election of the next pope. now, this pushback came after several unsourced stories in an italian newspaper this week claim pope benedict decided to resign after receiving a secret report in december outlining corruption and misconduct inside the vatican. church officials here denied that story and today the vatican secretary of state issued a statement saying, it is deplorable that there are unverified, unverifiable, and completely false news stories that harm persons or institutions. now, while all this was going on, pope benedict after his week-long lenten retreat was getting back
benedict. instead the world is seeing the darker side of the church, the in-fighting and scandals that today claimed britain's highest-ranking catholic. for scotland's cardinal o'brien, the end came with astonishing swiftness. today o'brien resigned and said he will not attend the conclave to elect a new pope. the first cardinal in history to stay away, because of a personal scandal. sunday, a british newspaper published accusations by three priests and a former priest that o'brien engaged in inappropriate behavior with them, going back to the 1980s. >> holy father accepted the resignation -- >> reporter: 24 hours later, pope benedict accepted o'brien's resignation as archbishop of saint andrews and edinborough. >> quite upsetting. >> the catholic church is in quite a bit of turmoil. >> reporter: o'brien denied the claims and said in a statement today, for any failures, i apologize to all whom i've offended. >> the one who handed me over to you -- >> reporter: just last week, o'brien spoke out about the american cardinal, mahoney under pressure to sit out the conclave because he s
for their friendship. from this point on, benedict will be known as pope emeritus continuing to wear white but without red shoes and he will have no official duties. father joseph benedict of the st. joseph's cathedral says his job during this transitional time is to help parishioners maintain the stability of their faith. >> inviting people to recognize that even in times of change and of turmoil, we remain steadfast in faith and that we can deal with these transitions and indeed all challenges of life within our faith and within our sense that god remains with us. >> it will definite ly take administrative part of the church. but in terms of believing in the lord, it doesn't change that. >> reporter: father benedict hopes that catholics consider this to be an experience in which to feel the continuity of the church and faith. there will be a special mass at 7:00 tonight here at st. joseph cathedral and it will include san jose bishop patrick mcgrath. they'll be celebrating the pope's retirement and praying for a smooth transition. we're live in san jose. i'm arturo santiago, nbc bay area news. >>> p
on march 26th. >>> it was an emotional farewell from pope benedict xvi as thousands of people gathered at vatican city. tomorrow he will step down leaving the roman catholic church and its 1 billion worldwide follow eers without a pope. marianne joins us from the vatican. marianne? >> reporter: raj, pope benedict xvi spoke of the burdens of his office as well as the joy. st. peters square alive with excitement as the first pope in six centuries chooses to resign revealing at 85 years old he no longer has the stamina to leave the roman catholic church. >> i will continue to accompany the church with my prayers and ask each of you to pray for me and for the new hope. >> reporter: those who will choose his successor found his final words especially moving. >> it was such a beautiful moment to see the holy father give his whole life and service to the church. >> reporter: benedict noted the difficult times of his pa pacy thanking the faithful for understanding his decision to step down for the good of the church. >> so it's a kind of a death to a certain office and moving on, and he got a
benedict's announcement that he will resign at the end of this month. we'll hear from catholic leaders and get valuable insight about picking the next pontiff. kimberly? >> reporter: local catholic church leaders say the position is physically and mentally demanding. the pope is expected to travel and make many more public appearances. and it's likely these factors will be considered when choosing the successor. the archbishops of san francisco and oakland have both spent time with the pope within the last year. >> he was certainly very mentally alert and inquisitive and engaging in conversation. but he seemed to be physically baring the burdens of the office. >> reporter: february 28th will be his final day as head of the catholic church. the cardinals of the world will meet in rome to choose a new pontiff. >> the holy father himself, pope benedict, will not take part in the conclave. he will have neither voice nor vote. >> there's 118 cardinals under age 80 who are eligible to vote. those over 80 years old will be there, but only as part of the preparatory session to discuss a possib
on january 19th and also included the super bowl a week ago. >> pope benedict celebrated ash wednesday at the vatican. >> reporter: pope benedict xvi made his first public appearance since his announcement he's going abdicate at the end of february. he made that appearance during a general audience with thousands of people greeting him and chanting his name. he said thank you very much everybody for your prayers and thoughts and explained he thought long and hard about his decision and he said that he thinks that decision to abdicate is good for the church. on wednesday he'll preside over a mass for ash wednesday. on the 27th of february, the day before he abdicates he'll hold a general audience in st. peter's square where thousands of the faithful are expected to come in and gather to say their last good-byes to a pope that will retire. back to you. >>> in rome for us. bill karins joins us with weather. a lot to talk about in >> not so much. the west is quiet. so in connecticut we had all the snow. the mayor of waterbury asked them to show up. paid them minimum wage. how many do you t
st. peter's square to hear pope benedict's last sunday mass. crews preparing for the large crowd. 2,000 security cameras have been installed throughout rome, many focused on the vatican. civil defense volunteers, police officers and paramedics will be stationed in st. peter's square and streets leading to the vatican. pope benedict plans to retire on thursday and most of the church cardinals will gather to choose the next pope. this is the first time in 600 years that a pope has resigned from the position. >>> with less than a week left, lawmakers on capitol hill are expressing pessimism toward the sequester. governors are calling on elected leader to avoid across the board cuts that could hurt the economy. if congress can't find middle grounds, the first things to slash are military and defense budgets. it is not looking good. >>> a day away from the night of the oscars. >> technicians and crews spent the day preparing for the awards show. the red carpet in place in front of the dolby theater, full sized statuettes are standing guard. they will be hosted by seth macfarlane and dani
the final blessing of pope benedict. the 100,000 people on hand got the blessing and heard the hope give more reasons. he told the crowd that god told thime live a life of more prayer and medication. the 85-year-old pontiff said god asked him to live his life with the same dedication but in a way more appropriate for his age and strength. >> gratitude, expression and prayer. >> very happy to hear that he is not going away from this and that he is going to be in prayer. i was moved to hear those words from him. >> i was very grateful y. have seen the pope before. now i am grateful to see the pope for the last time for now. >> reporter: this very joyous event played out against background of news scandal. headlines about priests accusing scottish cardinals of inappropriate behavior going back some 30 years. those priests and the former priests want cardinal o'brien to resign immediately before he comes here to vote for the new pope. a papal spokesperson says the pope will be informed about the matter and the vatican will issue a statement tomorrow morning. >>> pope benedict will make his l
with priests back to the 1980 says. the vatican says pope benedict accepts the retirement because he was near the retirement age of 75, not because of these accusations. >>> today marks the one-year anniversary of 17-year-old trayvon martin. this evening a candlelight vigil will be held in sanford, florida, while a million hoodichltd e gathering is scheduled in new york city. he was shot and killed by george zimmerman, who has pleaded not guilty and claiming self-defense. his trial is set to start this june. >>> in california, the search continues this morning for four people whose 29-foot sailboat disappeared off the coast of monterey sunday. the coast guard released a distress call believed to be made by a man who was with his wife, son and a young cousin before they abandoned the sinking vessel. >> coast guard, coast guard, we are abandoning ship. we are abandoning ship. >> the bodiers said their electronics were failing and fashioning a make-shift raft. officials hope the call will lead to new information that can aid in the search. now dylan with the forecast. >> you saw the radar and th
here. they asked us what is going on. nobody really got the news. when they told them pope benedict xvi was redesignisignry didn't know. actually, he can, but obviously, no pope has done that for 700 years. so no wonder people are aware of that. for now on that may change the course of the catholic church in the future as well as pope benedict xvi is setting an example. if you don't have the strength to carry on let someone younger and more strength to carry on the mission. >> it certainly is a monument ool announcement. claudio, thank you very much. >>> this morning we spoke with greg burke the senior communication adviser to the holy see in rome. we began by asking him how much of a surprise this was? >> it is a surprise. i people think had fair warning. it was a few years ago in a book called "light of the world," a long interview with a german journalist. the journalist asked the pope if he would resign. and he said something interesting. in the midst of a candle and all that stuff. he said now is not the time. it's not the time to run when you're in great risk and emergency period.
people. pope benedict xvi, the first pope they've known and the old who know how his story is. gathering to hear the last testament. and looking on the cardinal, one of these men could soon be pope, the first from pope benedict, a prayer. a final message to his follower followers. >> ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope i impart my blessing. thank you. [ applause ] >> reporter: this frail man choosing a quieter life. so very different from his predecessor john paul who stayed until the very end. anthony from pennsylvania witnessed both pope's last sermons. >> they're courage in different ways. in opposite ways but the same degree of courage. >> reporter: the pope summoning the strength to say good-bye, giving up one of the most powerful roles on earth. meeting publicly with the faithful one last time. >> savannah as the pope got up to leave. there was a wave of emotion. people calling out to him, waving good-bye. many people held up banners saying thank you in return. pope benedict told the faithful i have never felt this way. >> thank you. greg burke is the senior communi
new information tonight about pope benedict's decision to step down and what is ahead of the the 85-year-old pontiff. still no official reason for the pope's sudden retirement, but they do believe his health and age were a concern, citing the fact that he felt he could no longer continue his duties. the vatican, however, says the decision was made about a year ago before a recent surgery. pope benedict's resignation has several bishops around the world wondering if there is a precedent being set allowing future popes to follow suit. the pontiff's future plans include living at a monaçtery inside the vatican. now, tomorrow he'll preside over an ash wednesday mass. a large crowd is expected as it will be his last public mass. >>> it is a sensitive and polarizing debate on many college campuses. the price of competing in big-time athletics hurting the academic bottom line? a growing number of critics say yes, and they point to uc berkeley as the example. nbc bay area stephen stock teamed up with the investigative reporting program at cal in search of answers. stephen, what did you fin
? >> all right, al. thank you. >>> now to rome and pope benedict's final days as leader of the catholic church. moments ago the vatican announced new details about the pope's life after he steps down. let's get to nbc's anne thompson at the vatican this morning. anne, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, savannah. we now know what pope benedict will be called once he retires. if you run into him, you address him as his holiness, pope benedict xvi, or roman pontiff emeritus. he won't wear the white cape you've seen him wear as pope. and then those shoes that he's so very fond of, well, they go. he will have to switch to brown shoes. we understand he'll wear a pair he was given on a trip to mexico. all of those details are coming out as the world gets a glimpse of the sometimes ugly gamesmanship that goes on in this beautiful setting. cardinal keith o'brien, briton's highest ranking catholic and its only vote in the upcoming papal conclave is staying away, accused of improper behavior with four young priests going back to the 1980s, detailed in a british newspaper sunday that o
on the first appearance from pope benedict xvi since his announcement that he's stepping down at the end of the month. good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, matt. this is ash wednesday. it's usually a somber day in the catholic church. there's a celebratory air here in vatican city as the pope begins what some are calling his farewell tour. this morning, the public getting its first chance to express their appreciation for pope benedict since announcing his abdication. with the end of his papacy days away. a church famous for its rituals, vatican officials are working without a script as benedict moves into retirement. what are you going to call pope benedict once he steps down? >> i don't think he will be the pope emeritus. one of his other titles is the bishop of rome. he will probably be the americas bishop of rome. >> reporter: showed a flare for fashion, earning the nickname the prada pope. this monastery is being renovated for pope benedict. it will have a library for the scholarly man and his cats will accompany him. no word yet on whether there will be a piano as well.
filled st. peter's square for pope benedict's final blessing. four days he will step down as head of the catholic church. the vatican is dealing with new allegations today involving one of its cardinals. anne thompson has more. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, erica. it's a mixture of joy and intrigue here in vatican city. this morning catholics and the curious jammed st. peter's square to hear pope benedict's final blessing. this got not only a blessing but the pope also shed light on why he resigned. god had called him on the mountain to live a life of more prayer and meditation but he wasn't going to abandon the church. the 85-year-old pontiff said that god had had asked him to live this life with the same kind of dedication but to do so more in a way appropriate to his age and strength. now, this very joyous event took place against a background of scandal. there are new headlines in britain this morning, three priests and a former priest accused the scottish cardinal keith o'brien of inappropriate behavior going back some 30 years. they want cardinal o'brien to resign
forecast. eri erica. >>> pope benedict met italy's leader five days before he steps down. there is speculation about whether an american cardinal could replace him as pope. anne thompson has more from vatican city. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, erica. all kind of chatter at the vatican where pope benedict is back on the job after his week-long lenten retreat. he appointed new bishops italy and mexico as people here at the vatican are getting ready for what are expected to be huge crowds for its final two events. meanwhile ther meanwhile, there are many questions about this momentous occasion, like who will lead the church, that are still unanswered. a week before pope benedict retires and still no clear front-runner to succeed him. however, there is a long shot. new york's gregarious cardinal timothy dolan. >> i'll do anything to get you guys to church. >> reporter: praise in catholic circles for his efforts to revitalize the church and fighting obama administration con ra sepgs coverage mandate. this week he was depossessed about how he dealt with abusive prie
the vatican's plans to elect a new pope in the wake of pope benedict's surprise decision to retire at the end of the month. rich richard engel is live in the vatican city. >> reporter: it's an act of humility and encourage to make way for a younger man. 24 hours later there's still shock in the vatican city. >> shocked. disappointed. sad. >> reporter: this morning roman catholics, tourists, even some church officials wondered if this can be a moment to revitalize the church after pope benedict xvi's unexpected decision to step down. >> personally i didn't agree with a lot of the things he believed and prepared. >> this will bring change for the church. >> reporter: in making his announcement the 85-year-old pontiff who has been looking frail asked for forgiveness. i have to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the min nus stri entrusted to me he told a gathering of cardinals in latin saying his advanced age forced the decision. just hours later these images circulated around the world. these are unusual times for the vatican. the last time a pope abdicated under similar circumstances
of benedict's papacy, while scandal and intrigue engulf some of the men who will choose the next pope. even in his final days as pope, scandal continues to dog benedict's papacy and the church. italian newspapers headline rumors of blackmail and conspiracy that the vatican vehemently denies. american cardinal roger mahony has ignored calls to stay home from a conclthat chooses the next pope because of his role protecting abusive priests. scottish cardinal keith o'brien, who commented on mahony's situation last week. >> someone has erred and we have anoth another. >> reporter: today cardinal o'brien resigned after being accused by three priests and former priest of inappropriate behavior going back to the 1980s. ugly headlines that one vatican watcher says will shape the deliberations of the conclave. >> some of this is politics, but other parts of it are the long delayed, reckoning with problems that require facing and correcting in the church. >> reporter: the scandals have left many of the faithful weary. >> i'm a true believer and i hope that catholics will get a better name these days.
. pope benedict's successor, anne thompson is there with more. good morning, anne. >> reporter: good morning, natalie. the conclave to elect pope benedict's successor is scheduled to begin between march 15th and march 20g9, but there is talk it could be moved up because the karmds who will elect the new pope are coming here to rome to say good-bye to pope benedict february 28th. we should hear some word perhaps this week. asked who will succeed pope benedict the pope himself yesterday set off a flurry of speculation at his weekly blessing when he addressed the crowd in spanish, he asked them to pay praise for himself and the future pope. some wondered was he sending a secret signal that he would prefer to see a pope from latin america? i spoke to a vatican spokesman who said there was no secret signal, just the pope offering a prayer. >> anne thompson, thank you. >> nbc's white house correspondent kristen welker is in port st. lucie, traveling with the president. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, natalie. president obama heads home later today after a weekend of golf, includin
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